HORMONES. The typical thought that comes to mind is some type of mental breakdown, a ball of anxiety or PMS during that time of the month. But, in reality, hormones are much more complex than just managing your emotions. They control basically every human function in the body, and even come into play when you're trying to lose or gain weight. They control where you store fat, your appetite and cravings and how your body responds to the foods you eat.
It only takes one symptom of hormonal imbalance for your metabolism to become compromised.
Thin or brittle hair
Tendency to skip meals
Stubborn belly fat
HORMONES AFFECTING WEIGHT LOSS
INSULIN regulates metabolism by pulling glucose from the blood and helping to burn fat.
CORTISOL is termed the "stress hormone" and in very high amounts can increase belly fat, interrupt sleep, elevate blood sugar, cause anxiety/depression and affect wound healing.
LEPTIN is termed the "satiety hormone' because it helps cut cravings by inhibiting hunger and telling the brain you're full, which in turn diminishes fat storage.
GHRELIN is termed the 'hunger hormone' because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage.
CCK is responsible for stimulating the digestion of fat and protein.
IRISIN turns white fat to brown fat, which burns easier.
WHY ARE MY HORMONES OFF BALANCE?
There are MANY reasons this could be occurring, but STRESS (not only the anxiety type, but stemming from things like over exercising, cutting too many calories, and insufficient sleep) is the number one reason hormones are out of balance. Higher levels of stress hormones in the body suppress thyroid hormones, which control the metabolism of every single cell in the body.
Also, toxic amounts of estrogen (sometimes from birth control) can pack on fat in the hip and breast areas (in male and females both). Toxic amounts of cortisol and insulin also accumulate body fat.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Small, consistent meals. Eat within one hour of waking up, and every 3-4 hours after that. Blood sugars dip down after not eating for a few hours, naturally causing hunger.
Don’t wait too long to eat, or skip meals. Doing so drops your thyroid hormones, which in turn, drops your metabolism and increases stress on your body, causing body fat to accumulate.
Engage in regular exercise. Physical activity can strongly influence hormonal health. A major benefit of exercise is its ability to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Not sure what exercises are right for your body type? We offer customized virtual and in-person training packages to help you meet all your exercise goals!
Learn to manage stress. Engaging in stress-reduction behaviors like meditation, yoga, massage and listening to soothing music can help normalize your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation and accumulation of body fat.
Avoid overeating and under eating. Eating too much or too little may result in hormonal shifts that lead to weight problems. Overeating is shown to increase insulin levels and reduce insulin sensitivity, especially in overweight and obese people who are insulin resistant. On the other hand, cutting your calorie intake too much can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to promote weight gain when it's elevated. Don't know how much to eat? Contact us for a personalized macro plan to suit your needs.
Drink Green Tea. Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages around. In addition to metabolism-boosting caffeine, it contains antioxidants. Research suggests that consuming green tea may increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in both healthy people and those with insulin-resistant conditions like obesity and diabetes.
Eat fatty fish often. Fatty fish is by far the best source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests they may also have beneficial effects on hormonal health, including reducing levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. For optimal health, include two or more servings per week of fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.
Schedule your meals. Eat at the same time everyday to help lower insulin levels. Try writing out a food schedule for the week, including times, and stick to it as closely as you can.
Don’t eat late at night. Stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to sleep. If you don't, this will raise your body temperature, when at rest time, we should be cooling down. If your body temperature is too high, your fat burning hormones won’t be released during sleep.
Sleep naked or with the thermostat around 67F. This cools you down, which triggers hormonal release to rebuild skin, muscle and bone cells while you sleep. This actually causes fat burn while sleeping. Don’t sleep with tight fitting clothes, or heavy blankets to trap heat in. Poor sleep has been linked to imbalances of many hormones, including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormone. Inadequate or poor-quality sleep has been shown to decrease fullness hormones, increase hunger and stress hormones, reduce growth hormone and increase insulin resistance.
Stay away from sugary beverages. Sugar in any form is unhealthy. However, liquid sugars appear to be the worst by far. Studies suggest large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages may contribute to insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese adults and children. Be wary, even those “healthy drinks” in stores usually contain a very large amount of sugar! Don't know what to look for on a food label? Our nutrition plans have a ton of educational materials, including learning how to read a food label and what to avoid!
Consume a high fiber diet. High fiber intake has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity and the hormones that control hunger, fullness and food intake. Our nutrition plans are full of high fiber foods and recipes to meet your needs.
HOW MACROS AFFECT HORMONES
This is really where the majority of your efforts should go when balancing your hormones. Eating the right foods for your body type, the right ratio of macronutrients for your goals and including the right vitamins and minerals for your needs are the essential tools to help you get balanced. If you're not sure where to begin, reach out to us for a free health assessment and get your health back on track today!
The good news is, you can start resetting your hormones as soon as your next meal. So don't put it off any longer, get yourself balanced!